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The department is working with state agencies, local governments and other stakeholders to undertake the Brisbane River catchment studies. Our partners in this important flood management project include:

This work supports the findings in the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry final report released in 2012. Specifically, the department is addressing the recommendations in Chapter 2 of the report.

Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams Optimisation Study

As the first output from the Brisbane River catchment studies, the Queensland Government launched the Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams Optimisation Study and North Pine Dam Optimisation Study for public consultation on 1 April 2014. These studies present options for improving the use of existing dam infrastructure to deliver better flood mitigation outcomes.

You can have your say on these studies, and associated discussion papers, by visiting the DEWS website.

Brisbane River catchment studies

The department is playing an important role, in partnership with other state agencies and the four local government councils, in preparing for future flood events through the technical Brisbane River Catchment Flood Study and the Floodplain Management Study. The partners will use these findings to develop a Brisbane River Catchment Floodplain Management Plan.

The Brisbane River Catchment Study is well underway and will deliver comprehensive models of the river catchment. The study will build on the existing work undertaken by the Brisbane River catchment councils, Seqwater and the State Government.

This study involves a hydrologic assessment (now complete) and a hydraulic assessment (currently underway). The Hydrology Report will inform the hydraulic assessment.

Together these assessments aim to deliver consistent, up-to-date technical flood data for local governments and other users across the Brisbane River catchment to help better plan for and minimise the impacts of future floods.

The completed hydrologv assessment was led by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines who engaged Aurecon Australia, partnering with Royal HaskoningDHV, Hydrobiology, Deltares and Don Carroll Project Management to complete a comprehensive hydrologic assessment as part of the study. This work had a strong focus not only on the Brisbane River, but also the Bremer River, Lockyer Creek and major tributaries such as Oxley Creek.

The Hydrologic Assessment will be further reviewed in the future as necessary based on the outcomes of the Hydraulic Assessment.

To obtain further information on the Hydrologic Assessment, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To obtain further information on the Brisbane River Catchment Study, including purpose, methodology and timing, please read our Understanding the Brisbane River Catchment Flood Study (PDF icon 176 KB) fact sheet. For more details about the hydrologic and hydraulic studies, please read our Brisbane River Catchment Floodplain Study (PDF icon 652 KB) brochure.

The Brisbane River Catchment Floodplain Management Study will identify floodplain risks and assess various management options to increase the community's resilience to floods in the Brisbane River catchment (including the Bremer River, Lockyer Creek and smaller tributaries). This will include assessing cost benefits of a wide range of structural and non-structural options for consideration by governments. The study will also evaluate opportunities for environmental enhancement in the floodplain as part of any structural or riparian mitigation works considered. The study is due for completion in December 2017.

Brisbane River Catchment Floodplain Management Plan

This catchment-wide plan will be used by state government and the four catchment area councils to prioritise a range of infrastructure projects and guide land use planning to better manage residual flood risks. The plan will assist councils in updating sub-catchment plans to ensure their communities are informed, ready and resilient.

Some of the benefits of the Brisbane River Catchment Floodplain Management Plan include:

  • managing flood-prone land to provide a balance between personal safety, reducing economic loss and improving social and ecological resilience
  • identifying land in the floodplain unsuitable for development
  • identifying how flood risks may be reduced and the residual risks managed
  • facilitating assessment of development applications for potential impacts on, and effects of, flooding
  • prioritising budgets and other resources in flood mitigation infrastructure programs
  • prioritising critical infrastructure upgrades such as roads, water supply and sewerage to ensure they are adequately positioned and protected to operate during flood events providing the basis for more timely flood warnings, evacuation and response
  • providing the basis for more timely flood warnings, evacuation and response.

The final management plan will be an important tool to help protect Queenslanders from future flood events so it is important that it is technically robust and achieves best practice outcomes for many years to come. The plan will therefore take some time to finalise and is likely to be released in 2018. In the meantime, state and local governments will use an interim disaster management modelling tool that was developed in 2013.

National flood risk advisory group

The department is the Queensland Government's coordinating agency on the National Flood Risk Advisory Group (NFRAG).

An important part of our role on this advisory group has been involvement in the preparation of a new national floodplain manual considerate of Queensland conditions. This work is in response to recommendations 2.20 and 2.21 of the Commission of Inquiry report. The ‘Managing the floodplain: a guide to best practice in flood risk management in Australia – AEMI Handbook 7’ was released in February 2014 and is available for free download or purchase on the Australian Emergency Management Institute website.

Flood risk management

Effective flood risk management should take into account that risk does not remain constant. The likelihood and consequences of risk can change significantly with increases in catchment and floodplain development and due to changes to infrastructure in the floodplain.

Flood risk management has been shown to have great benefit in limiting flood risk through:

  • improvements in strategic land use planning and building controls
  • implementation of structural works to reduce flood impacts
  • development of flood warning systems
  • emergency management planning
  • public education programs.

The Queensland Government is supporting a new way of thinking about flood events and a more risk-based approach using flood probabilities (Annual Exceedance Probability [AEP]). The traditional Q100 (1 in 100 year flood level) terminology is no longer being used as it can suggest a fixed time recurrence interval between flooding events, which is not the case in reality. Neither does that terminology convey the full range of more extreme floods that may occur. The following table compares the average recurrence interval with the statistical probability of a range of flood events occurring in an 80-year lifetime:

Annual Exceedance Probability Average recurrence interval Probability of Experiencing in an 80 year period
at least once at least twice
20% 1 in 5 years 100% 100%
10% 1 in 10 years 99.9% 99.8%
5% 1 in 20 years 98.4% 91.4%
2% 1 in 50 years 80.1% 47.7%
1% 1 in 100 years 55.3% 19.08%
0.5% 1 in 200 years 33.0% 6.11%
0.2% 1 in 500 years 14.8% 1.14%
0.1% 1 in 1,000 years 7.69% 0.30%

Natural hazards management guides

The state's land use planning interest in relation to natural hazards is: “The risks associated with natural hazards are avoided or mitigated to protect people and property and enhance the community's resilience to natural hazards.”

Further information regarding the state's interest in natural hazards, and supporting guidance, is available in the following documents:

On 21 February 2011, the Queensland Reconstruction Authority was formed under the Queensland Reconstruction Authority Act 2011.

A land use planning team was established and the following planning documents were created:

The authority's land use planning functions ceased on 21 February 2013. These documents will not be updated and may not reflect current departmental or state government policy or process.

For enquiries about these documents please contact the department.